Choosing the Right Lawyer for Your Business

Anyone in the midst of opening up their own business will eventually come across a situation that will require legal representation. Issues such as manufacturing, leasing, and contract disputes are a perfect example of the everyday legal issues that business owners find themselves in. Therefore, it is only right to begin looking for a lawyer to represent your business before these issues arise. However, it can be quite daunting for new business owners to begin the process. The last thing you want is to retain a lawyer who is only self-serving, inexperienced, or difficult to work with. Read on to learn some of the things to look for when choosing the right lawyer for your business.

Understand the Type of Lawyer You Need

One of the most common mistakes made by new business owners is not hiring the right type of lawyer. You might be thinking, don’t they all practice law? The answer is yes, but much like doctors, some lawyers specialize in specific areas of law. If you have a complicated issue involving product branding and trademarks, then your best bet is to hire a lawyer who specializes in the fields of trademarks, copyrights, and LLCs.

Big or Small Firm?

Having a large firm with many resources at their disposal can seem like a sure-fire way to show strength and confidence when facing legal issues. However, ask any experienced business owner, and they will tell you that large firms often don’t have the best track record of making you their top priority. Since they manage so many clients, it can seem like you’re simply a number to them. Thus, it is recommended to seek small to medium-sized firms to represent your company. Note that you should still make it an effort to research each firm. Every business is different, take the time to find what’s right for you.

Invested In Your Business

The mark of a good business lawyer is one that invests in your company’s services. No, we’re not talking about investing in terms of funds but rather a knowledge of exactly what you do. The best way for a lawyer to help your company is to understand exactly what you do and what your goals are for the future. Therefore seeking a lawyer who consistently demonstrates this attribute is your best bet of hiring the right lawyer for your business.

What to Expect in Australian Court Proceedings

If you’ve never been to court before, then attending a proceeding can be intimidating. That’s to be expected if you don’t know how, exactly, it works, especially if you’re a new migrant or just visiting. Knowing what to do and expect once you arrive could help ease your nerves and make the day go a lot smoother than anticipated.

What to Wear

It’s important to dress appropriately when going in for your court case. A suit and tie aren’t necessary, but you should aim to keep yourself neat and tidy when going in for your hearing. It could be several hours before you’re seen, so wearing comfortable clothes will make the wait more bearable.

Before the Hearing

Expect airport-style security when entering the courthouse. You and your belongings may be scanned before you’re allowed to enter the courthouse, and any prohibited items, like knives, will be confiscated. Once inside, you’ll need to find the courtroom your hearing will be taking place in. A list should be printed and displayed in the foyer and will have your case name and room number. If you can’t find the room, approach a court officer to ask for directions. Court officers wear either a red badge or a uniform and assist with the case.

Once you get to the appropriate courtroom, let the court officer there know you’ve arrived so you can be told where to wait for your case to be called. If you have a lawyer representing you during the hearing, find where they are and discuss where you’ll be waiting instead. The judicial officer will approach your lawyer at the bar table when your case is ready to be heard, or you will be called by the court officer to speak to the judicial officer if representing yourself. If you plan to leave the area, notify a court officer so your case isn’t heard without you being there.

During the Hearing

Courts have a formality to them. Some people may bow when they enter or leave the courtroom as a show of respect to the court, but bowing isn’t a requirement of anyone. While in the room, note the judge, who’s dressed in a red, black, or purple robe with a traditional wig, and the magistrate, dressed in black robes but no wig. 

Turn off your cell phone and sit quietly while in the courtroom, and do not interrupt the proceedings for whatever reason. Do not eat or drink, take photographs, or make audio or video recordings, and do not approach or speak with any member of the jury. Being caught with your phone out can lead the judicial officer to think you’re doing something illegal, which would result in you either being asked to leave the court or arrested. Video and audio recording is prohibited unless permission is gained beforehand. 

When your case is up, you’ll be led to either stand at a microphone or sit at the bar table. Stand when you speak and address the judge and magistrate as “your honour” when speaking to them.

Studying Law in Australia

Obtaining a law degree is a rather popular choice to make. By getting a law degree, students not only have a better understanding of their rights and responsibilities, but they gain self-confidence and exercise their critical thinking, persuasive reasoning, and analytical skills both in the classroom and out in the field. Practising law offers financial stability and a position to shape the world as well, so why not go into the field? There are so many high-class institutes to attend that give their students quality education, but no country can quite beat out what Australia has to offer law students.

Why Australia, though? Other than the fact that the University of Melbourne ranks at #6 on a list of top law schools in the world and the University of Sydney ranks at #12, many international students choose to pursue their education in Australia due to the high quality and internationally prized status of degrees obtained there. 

At the undergraduate level, students will receive a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) after completing a four-year curriculum, while those who get the Juris Doctor (JD) will get their degree after three years. Most students obtain an additional degree either during or before their law curriculum, and specialization programs are offered to students to give them a more well-rounded knowledge of national and international law.

Most schools with a law program have a core curriculum that teaches students concepts such as torts, criminal law, and property law. Electives dive further into learning about international law, jurisprudence, and all students have to satisfy a language requirement.

Upon graduation, students often go on to be barristers or solicitors for private practices or the government. Since most countries recognize the degree, they can take their knowledge outside of Australia if they wish. Since a law degree in Australia has such a broad focus on interdisciplinary skills, graduates don’t necessarily have to go into practising law like they studied, as they can also apply their degree to fields such as journalism, business, and technology.

As with any university or degree, students should consider costs when choosing their school. They should also consider the curriculum taught, the school’s reputation, its location and climate, the size of the student body, and the international student demographic for the school. 

Law students are always needed, and Australia provides high-quality education needed to succeed in the field. Some may ask, “Why attend law school in Australia?” when the question should be, why wouldn’t you?

Al-Kateb v Godwin

Many court cases become famous or historic because of the controversy that surrounds them. While many cases follow existing laws there are some that interpret the law in a new and different way, setting new precedents. In 2004 the case of Al-Kateb v Godwin in the High Court of Australia did just that.

In the year 2000, a Palestinian man named Ahmed Al-Kateb who was born in Kuwait moved to Australia. Al-Kateb applied for a temporary protection visa which recognizes a person as a refugee who is fleeing persecution. A temporary protection visa (TPV) is issued to someone who applies for refugee status after arriving unauthorised in Australia. In Al-Kateb’s case, the Commonwealth Minister for Immigration made the decision to refuse his application. The Refugee Review Tribunal and the Federal Court upheld the Commonwealth’s decision.

In 2002 it was Al-Kateb’s wish to then return to Kuwait or Gaxa, however, no country would accept him. Due to the countries refusal and Australia’s denial of a TPV Al-Kateb was declared stateless and wound up being detained within the policy of mandatory detention.

There were two issues that made this case so controversial. One is whether or not the Migration Act 1958 allowed for a person in Al-Kateb’s situation to be detained indefinitely. The Migration Act allowed unlawful non-citizens to be detained until their removal from the country, even when their removal could not take place in the foreseeable future. The second issue was if the Act did permit indefinite detainment was it actually legal under the Constitution of Australia. 

These two points caused quite a debate, with two Justices offering differing views on the constitutional interpretation. The views these individuals expressed focused particularly on human rights and the role of international law. The High Court considered these issues and a majority ruled that the Act allowed for indefinite detention and was not unconstitutional.

At the time Al-Kateb was to be detained indefinitely until either a Middle Eastern state became willing to take him or a state of Palestine was created. The ruling sparked major controversy as many saw the scope of mandatory detention laws as a violation of human rights.

The case put pressure on the Immigration Minister and forced the Court to review other stateless people’s circumstances. At the time 24 people being held in immigration detention had their cases looked at for a second time. After reviewing Al-Kateb and 8 other people were granted bridging visas. In 2005 these people were released from detention, however, they were unable to study, work or obtain government benefits. 

Al-Kateb has said of the situation that he was constantly worried about being sent back and had to rely on donations from friends and supporters. In the summer of 2007, he was granted a permanent visa by Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews.

The case is used in academic circles as an example of the court taking differing approaches to statutory interpretations and how a legalistic approach can contrast with a purposive approach.

Hiring the Right Employees

Employee recruitment is an essential part of a business. It can make or break your business. As a leader, you have the stress of constantly being judged for your decisions. Hiring is one of those decisions. Like many other choices, who you hire may not be popular among all of your employees but you cannot please everyone. You must search for specifics in every person you interview to ensure they are the right fit for your company.

 

Commitment

A person who shows commitment to their career is a candidate you should consider adding to your team. You don’t want an employee who switches careers frequently searching for a higher salary. You want a candidate who is searching to further their development as well as helping the company they are joining. 

 

Confidence

Anyone can look good on a resume. Their true character can come out during an interview in how they hold themselves. You want an employee who answers your questions confidently and depending on the position you may have them show their abilities. This could be an analytical or writing test or you could have them bring in a portfolio of their previous work. 

 

Compatibility

A candidate can have all the needed skills and extensive experience in your field but still may not be a good hire. You want to check if they’re compatible with your company’s culture. Have them interact with current employees and managers to test their social skills. 

 

Social Media

A large percentage of companies will look up their hiring candidates online before bringing them in for an interview. This can help you get a feel for the person’s life and whether or not they would be a good fit in your company. It also helps avoid the awkward personal questions during the interview process. You will also find that more companies are listing their job openings on social media. Everyone is using it, might as well use it to benefit your business.

 

Hiring is not a minimal process. There are many steps that go into hiring the right employee. When you hire, you want to retain these employees for years. It saves on the time taken to train new employees. Take these steps to help determine if your next interviewee is ready to join your company.

 

How Franchisees Succeed

Most everyone is familiar with successful franchise businesses. Those that achieve a level of financial and social notoriety can benefit and, quite possibly transform societies and economies. This blog will explore why certain franchises succeed while others fail. Profitable franchises:

 

Master Solid Concept Development

Successful franchisees understand the value of concept creation. This concept will drive the establishment of the products, goods or services the entity in question creates or provides to customers or clients. Solid concepts are simple, in addition to being easy to produce or understand.

 

Establish A Loyal Customer Base

Once a company or organizational concept is developed, reputable franchises execute due diligence establishing a customer base. Businesses cannot survive without continual patronage from a customer base. Successful franchisees identify what their customers want and work hard to satisfy those desires.

 

Identify Appropriate Locations

Many popular franchises succeed because they establish locations at more optimal locations. Profitable franchises position establishments in locations that will attract the most customers.

 

Conduct Consumer Research

In addition to providing reputable, necessary or enjoyable products, goods or services to a consumer base, successful franchises will continually strive to make improvements. No matter how profitable a franchise is and how satisfied the customer base is, chances are there will always be some matter that could use improvement. Franchise overseers might better identify what these issues are by conducting thorough consumer research and feedback. Researching the habits and desires of a business’s customers can enable the entity to provide improved services and greatly enhance their reputations.

 

Do Not Expand Hastily

Certain business insiders who study failed franchises opine that some of these entities did not succeed because they expanded far too hastily. The temptation to “spread the wealth” is an understandable, yet common mistake unsuccessful entities engage in. Successful franchisees will dot and cross all the proverbial “I’s” and “t’s” before expanding into new locations.

 

Do Not Saturate An Already Flooded Market

Successful franchisees do not saturate a flooded market for a particular product or service. For example, a pizza franchisee will typically not enter a market that is already teeming with other pizza franchises. Such an entity might do so only if it provides a unique niche or service the public may clamor for, which using the preceding example, could be an item like gourmet pizza. 

Protecting Your Online Business From Lawsuits

Legal liabilities and lawsuits are some common worst fears that can easily crumble a business if not prevented or managed. As a business owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that your online business is well protected against potential cases that can easily damage the business’s reputation. 

 

Uphold information security

Your online business, most likely, holds customers’ data, such as names and social security numbers. Safe data handling practices, including safeguarding client’s data and protecting financial information from illegal disclosure, ensures that your clients do not file lawsuits against you for potential mishandling of their data.

 

Proper communication with customers

Business-customer communication is a constant process that should be properly regulated to ensure that the kind of information disclosed is accurate and relevant. The kind of information that you display on your business’s website, including potential advice to web users and information relating to products and services should be well regulated to ensure accuracy. This can prevent a possible situation where customers feel defrauded or misled by the business.

 

Compliance with industry practices

Every business investing within a particular industry or area of investment is governed by specific as well as universal standards and practices. Among the crucial standards thereof is the need for businesses to ensure that all products and services are within the quality specifications and standards. Releasing products and services out there that do not meet the industry standards will most likely land your online business in legal trouble.

 

Insurance 

Online businesses are increasingly focusing on adding insurance to their operations and products against potential risks and damages. Such protection is crucial, especially since the products are normally handled by multiple persons before they finally get to the customer. Obtaining insurance for your products gives customers the peace of mind that the product will be in good working condition as described within the e-commerce site.

 

Child protection

Different jurisdictions have different requirements for child protection when it comes to online businesses. In the US, your online business will be required to obtain parental permission when collecting data and information from children under the age of 13 years. It is, therefore, upon you to exercise due caution and put in place mechanisms ensuring that you have an accurate overview of each client who visits your business.

 

**This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. In relation to your individual situation, always seek advice specific to your circumstances from a lawyer.

Tips on Protecting Your Business from Online Attacks

To be competitive, every business today has invested in establishing an online presence. The rising trend of cyber threats is, however, an important issue that every business must consider to address. To remain secure across the web and prevent itself against online threats, your business must put in place strong cybersecurity measures. 

 

Work with a secure hosting platform

Your business’s website should be hosted on a secure and certified web hosting service provider. Among the factors to consider when selecting a hosting service provider include the provider’s compliance with the international PCI standards as regards to security and data protection. This guarantees that every online activity that your business will be engaging in from your website will be secure.

 

Ensure that you use https

All your online and web communications should be based on a Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (https) channel. The https protocol is more secure for your website and web service as it provides added layers of security that are necessary to prevent potential siphoning and eavesdropping into your business’s communication.

 

Training your employees

Untrained employees are highly likely to compromise on any layer of digital security that you put in your business. To ensure that everyone within your business is cybersecurity-competent, it is important to train the workers on the broad concept of digital security, cyber threats, and how they can contribute actively towards making the workplace digitally secure. Progressively training your employees on the evolving thresholds of cyber threats to your business ensures that they do not compromise unknowingly.

 

Use appropriate software

As an added layer of digital security in your business, it is important to use protective software, such as anti-malware and antivirus programs. These programs should be regularly updated to ensure that they can competently detect and ward-off any potential cyber threats.

 

Back up your data

Exposure to some of the modern-day cyber threats can lead to an abrupt loss of organizational data or a compromise on the data’s integrity. Such an eventuality can cripple the business and bring its operations to a standstill. To be on the safe side, it is important to consider backing up your data daily.

Reasons to Seek Legal Advice for Your Business

Growing a business is a difficult time with many bumps in the road. You want to make sure that you have the option of finding legal advice during your time as a business owner. Whether it is during the initial startup of the business, protecting your intellectual property, drafting contracts, and settling any lawsuits that may arise, having a prepared and experienced legal professional is essential.

 

While Forming Your Business

When you are determining how to form your business, seek an advisor to benefit your business’s future. You can determine if you will run your business as a sole proprietorship, LLC, partnership, corporation, or any other business structure, a lawyer will weigh the pros and cons to what could be the best option and help properly register your company as such.

 

Protecting Your IP

Either a start-up or a seasoned business, new ideas, products, trademarks, and more intellectual property will be created. No matter how long the business has been around, you are going to want to protect your property. Finding a lawyer that focuses their practice on IP will help with technical language and legal proceedings of registering the IP for the business. When it comes to safeguarding your IP, you want to make sure you take all the right steps to ensure it’s safety.

 

While Drafts Contracts

Hiring employees, creating relationships with other businesses, and other business transaction can require contracts. You are going to want to thoroughly understand the rights and obligations of contracts you are creating and also what you are signing. Taking your contract to a legal professional can relieve you from the stress of combing through the contract with a microscope.

 

Settling Any Lawsuits

The litigation process can be timely and expensive. Though you want to take the proper preventative measures listed above to avoid any lawsuits, there may come a time when you are going to want a lawyer to help when settling these disputes.

 

It is important to be prepared for any situation to arise. When owning a business, you need to be aware of the problems that can affect your operations. Protect yourself, your business, customers, and employees by seeking legal advice from a professional.

 

**This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. In relation to your individual situation, always seek advice specific to your circumstances from a lawyer.

Must-Read Articles for Entrepreneurs

As an entrepreneur and a lawyer, I know it is important to learn from others. Different perspectives can help develop new ideas and solutions that may not have been discovered without collaboration. There are so many resources on the internet whether its TED talks, interviews, or articles. As an entrepreneur, you should consider reading these business articles.

 

“Don’t Take It Personal” Is Terrible Work Advice

Duncan Coombe discusses why employees and business owners should take things personally. From feedback, conflicts, ups and downs, losing business deals, and all types of workplace issues are you are told to “not take things personally” or “it’s just business, don’t take it personally.” But you constantly put so much effort into your business that why wouldn’t you take it personally? This Harvard Business Review article gives advice to entrepreneurs on how to engage with their employees, create success in business, and take pride in what you are doing.

 

Think You’re Too Old to Be an Entrepreneur? Think Again

Not every entrepreneur is a millennial whose brilliant idea came from them sitting in a coffee shop. This article shows that it doesn’t matter what age you may be, it is possible for you to make your ideas come to life. It gives examples of entrepreneurs who started their endeavors later in life.

 

Meeting the Challenge of Disruptive Change

Businesses are constantly changing. If it isn’t, your business could be left in the dust by not adapting. Businesses are going to grow. This article helps business owners identifying when your company may need to change and how to handle it. Economics scholar, Clayton Christensen, and business consultant, Michael Overdorf, wrote their article to benefit entrepreneurs when it is time to handle a change in their business.

 

What Makes a Leader

Starting a business is something very different from having the ability to manage and lead a team of employees. You need to develop a different set of skills to be able to be a leader. As an entrepreneur, you may need advice on how to be an effective leader of your business. This article is a great read if you are looking to develop your skills.